Behind the Curtain: How I Distinguish Myself as a Listing Agent!

10700 Lochard 16 small (1)I recently had one of the hottest listings possible, so I thought I’d share some information from behind the scenes. The listing was 10700 Lochard (see link below), unusual in being a small house in a neighborhood of much larger homes. It had a large lot–over 1/4 acre–and a huge amount of character. As you know if you’ve been tracking real estate in this market, we are not so much selling property as selling lifestyles. This little house inspired a great outpouring of love, and conjured images of a lifestyle of growing ones own food, with hiking trails just outside the front door.

I was reminded just how key is the role a good listing agent can play in determining the outcome for their client. When representing a seller I have a fiduciary responsibility to represent their best interests, and on offer days I savor my role in getting them absolutely top dollar. I like to think that I’m generally a fairly modest person, but I am truly proud of the skill I have developed over many years for negotiating offers substantially higher than the original offer price. In this case we priced the property at $598K, which in hindsight was too conservative. But it is summer, several properties had failed to receive offers just before we needed to price this listing, and the property is located a long way from any amenities. I kidded that I was marketing to folks who wanted a high Hike Score, not WalkScore!

Here’s the summary of how it played out by the numbers:

  • Packets of disclosures sent out: 60. Yes, that’s too many! That confirms the price was too low.
  • Offers received: 27. Yes, that’s too many!
  • Dream sales price: Originally $700K for my sellers, $750K once we saw the response. I increased my target to $800K. But never in my wildest dreams would I have predicted the final result.
  • Offers received over $900K: originally 4
  • Largest increase from original offer price: $130K
  • Highest offer received: $1,015,000. But with contingencies, and a longer escrow period
  • Selling price: $990K, with a 15-day close of escrow. No contingencies.
  • Sales percentage over list: 65.5%

Here’s the look behind the curtain: in the end two parties vied to become the successful buyers, and ended up with a difference of less than $10K (both were non-contingent but with loans). One offer started in the mid $800K range, the other in the low $900’s. But each of their agents shared the deep passion their buyers had for this property. And here’s the key factor: they were agents I knew and trusted, and they stayed in close communication with me throughout the day that offers were heard. Two other high offers did not get that opportunity. Why not? They were submitted by agents whom I either did not know, or whom had been less than gracious in their representation of their buyers. The highest offer was over $1M, but with both loan and appraisal contingencies, and from an agent and loan broker with whom I had no experience. Having those contingencies signalled that the buyer wanted an out. There was no love letter, unlike with the other offers. To me that signaled a lack of passion, and the sale of this home was all about passion! There was too much risk to justify the relatively small increase in price.

The offers that ended up in first and second place each increased their offer price substantially from how they were originally written. Not always is that an option. Time and time again I find it works best to allow buyers to show their motivation, especially if they are allowed to choose their offer price, rather than having the seller formally counter and ask for a specific price improvement. Having the buyers feel empowered is key! And the other major factor: treating other agents with the utmost courtesy. My strong reputation is the greatest asset I bring to both buyers and sellers, and it makes a much greater difference than most clients can ever know. The Golden Rule is still Golden!

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